Vietnam, Indonesia target higher level of relationship
President Vo Van Thuong and his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo affirmed the importance the two countries attach to the bilateral strategic partnership, and agreed on the need to soon elevate it to a new height, at their talks in Hanoi on January 12 morning.
President Vo Van Thuong (L) and his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo inspect the guard of honour of the Vietnamese People's Army__Photo: VNA

President Vo Van Thuong and his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo affirmed the importance the two countries attach to the bilateral strategic partnership, and agreed on the need to soon elevate it to a new height, at their talks in Hanoi on January 12 morning.

The talks took place following an official welcome ceremony for the Indonesian leader, who is paying a state visit to Vietnam from January 11-13.

President Thuong highly valued achievements that Indonesia has recorded in both home and external affairs under the leadership of President Widodo over the past two tenures, and congratulated Indonesia on its successful performance of G20 Presidency in 2022, and ASEAN and the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) Chairmanship last year.

He noted his hope that Indonesia will successfully organize its upcoming general election and further develop, for peace and cooperation in the region and the world.

For his part, Widodo expressed his pleasure in his second visit to Vietnam in his capacity as the President of Indonesia, and thanked Vietnam for supporting Indonesia in performing the ASEAN Chairmanship in 2023, saying Indonesia wishes to enhance its traditional friendship and cooperation with Vietnam – its only strategic partner in the ASEAN.

The leaders rejoiced at the strong, dynamic development of the bilateral strategic partnership, with regular all-level delegation exchanges and contacts, notably the phone talks between Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and President Widodo in August 2022.

They shared the view that the 2019-2023 action program for the strategic partnership has been implemented effectively, and cooperation in other important fields like national defense-security, education-training, culture-tourism, locality-to-locality connectivity and people-to-people exchange has also made progress.

Indonesia is Vietnam’s third largest trade partner in the ASEAN, while Vietnam is Indonesia’s fourth biggest trade partner in the grouping, they said, noting that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, two-way trade still grew significantly, from USD 9 billion in 2019 to nearly USD 14 billion last year.

For future cooperation orientations, the Presidents consented to foster political trust through delegation exchanges and contacts, the effective implementation of bilateral cooperation mechanisms, and the early building of the 2024-2028 action program. Given the significant cooperative outcomes over the past nearly 70 years, the two countries should early lift their strategic partnership to a new level, they said.

The two countries will also strengthen collaboration in other important spheres such as national defense-security, and maritime cooperation, and enhance the exchange of experience in fighting cross-border crimes, the leaders said, stressing that they will not allow any individuals and organizations to use one country’s territory to sabotage the other.

The two sides agreed to increase cooperation in agriculture, fisheries, information-communications, education-training, culture, sports and tourism, and at the same time expand collaboration to new, potential spheres like smart financing, energy transition, digital transformation, innovation and developing the electric vehicle and battery ecosystem. They will also open more direct flights and enhance connectivity between their localities, businesses and residents.

Vietnam and Indonesia will strive to soon raise the bilateral trade to 15 billion USD or even higher by reducing trade barriers and facilitating the export and import of each other’s key items, including rice.

Thuong suggested Indonesia create favorable conditions for Vietnamese farm produce and halal products to access its market, and encourage Indonesian enterprises to expand their investment in Vietnam.

Widodo said more and more Indonesian investors have shown their interest in Vietnam, and called on Vietnamese businesses to expand their operation in Indonesia.

President Thuong spoke highly of Indonesia’s cooperation in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and suggested the two sides continue with the joint efforts.

Regarding regional and international issues of shared concern, the Presidents concurred to increase consultations and further their close coordination and mutual support at regional and international forums.

They will work together to uphold ASEAN’s solidarity and centrality, and coordinate with other ASEAN member countries to support Laos in performing the ASEAN Chairmanship 2024.

Both leaders reaffirmed the importance of peace, stability, safety, security and freedom of navigation and overflight in the East Sea, pledging that Vietnam and Indonesia will coordinate to maintain ASEAN’s unity and common stance in the East Sea issue, fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and push ahead with negotiations to reach a substantive, effective Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) in line with international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 

Following the talks, the leaders witnessed the exchange of an MoU on cooperation in information-communications, and another on fishery. 

They then co-chaired a press conference to announce outcomes of their talks, highlighting the consensus on raising bilateral trade.

Thuong noted his belief that Widodo’s visit will create new momentum for the friendship and cooperation in the time ahead, stressing that it is time to consider upgrading the relationship to a new height in the time ahead.

Widodo welcomed Vietnamese and Indonesian businesses to invest in the respective markets, and expressed his firm belief that Indonesian companies in Vietnam will always receive optimal conditions.

The same day, President Vo Van Thuong hosted a banquet for President Widodo and his entourage.- (VNA/VLLF)

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